Congratulations you are having a baby! This is such an exciting and overwhelming time. I find there is a lot of attention paid to prenatal education and newborns, and not enough attention is given to the postpartum journey. Becoming a parent is a huge transition; you go from being an independent person to being responsible for a tiny little human. As a birth-giver, the physical/emotional changes the body experiences are no less significant and play a part in the transition.
Consider these 10 Must Know Postpartum Tips as you adjust to the 4th trimester.
1.) Preparation is key to helping the postpartum transition go smoother.
2.) Education. Don’t forget to take classes on the postpartum period, newborn care, and breastfeeding if that is your chosen feeding method. Feeling prepared and having an idea of what to expect can go a long way in easing any anxiety.
3.) Identify Resources. Before birth create a list of personal and professional resources you might need. This list should include experienced mom friends/family, emergency contacts, a pediatrician, Ob, mental health support, pelvic floor physical therapist, mom groups, bodyworker, and a lactation consultant.
4.) Hire the help you need. Having the physical and emotional support you need during this time is essential to recovery. It’s a worthy investment. Check out Mama Coach’s resources. Where you can receive education and support from a registered nurse in your home or virtually for up to 8 weeks after birth. Other options are hiring a postpartum doula or a newborn care specialist.
5.) Accept Help: Your friends and family want to support you during this time; so don’t be afraid to make specific requests. Examples include bringing over dinner, doing some laundry, the dishes, or holding the baby while you shower or nap.
6.) See a relationship counselor during pregnancy. Adding another person to your family can put a strain on any relationship. Seeing a counselor before birth can be a great way to solidify your relationship by talking through your postpartum and parenting expectations.
7.) Limit visitors. Everyone loves a new baby but this attention can be very draining on a new mama. Only allow people that you can be your true self with, who will be supportive, and helpful. Remember you’re going to be exhausted, wearing a diaper, and dripping from your breasts. Discuss this with your partner before birth and come up with a scripted response for undesired visitors. Having healthy boundaries is essential for new parents.
8.) Meal Plan. Prep some easy freezer-friendly meals at the end of your pregnancy for one less thing to worry about. You can also set up a meal train with your friends, family, or mom’s group. Having a list of simple crockpot recipes is another choice.
9.) Have a nesting party. Invite a few friends or family members over to help you get ready for the little one’s arrival. This could look like prepping some freezer meals, making padsicles, doing baby laundry, and/or setting up the nursery.
10.) Positive Affirmations. Being a new parent can be overwhelming and exhausting. Having a positive phrase that you resonate with and repeat to yourself regularly can be uplifting during a time of upheaval.
Finally, remember you are the perfect mom for your child. Take a moment for a few deep breaths and relax your body. Give yourself the grace to be less than perfect as you adjust to this new role. Your baby doesn’t need you to be perfect; just to love and care for them.